by Sandra Murphy
Details on how to win a copy of the book at the end of this post.
This is the sixth episode of the Chet and Bernie mystery series, featuring the Little Detective Agency; “Little” is Bernie’s last name in case you’re wondering. Chet is the Canine Detective and the tales are told from his point of view, not always an easy task but Quinn does it better than anyone else.
This time out, Chet and Bernie spot a familiar face while driving past a prison work crew. Chet remembers Frenchie well–after all, he and Bernie sent the perp up the river. Frenchie is not one to hold a grudge though and wants to hire the Little Detective Agency to find his one legitimate brother, Ralph, an inventor who lives on a houseboat. It seems Ralph, his Pug, Napoleon, and the houseboat have gone missing. Ralph has been known to wander off on his own now and again, but not without showing up in a few days. Bernie’s got a good-sized check in pocket from a divorce case lawyer and decides a road trip is in order; after all, Ralph lives in Louisiana. Before Chet and Bernie can head out for points southern, Bernie gets an offer of a very lucrative job in Alaska. He could make as much money in a month as he usually makes in a year, but as Chet says, Bernie has principles and they already have a client.
In Louisiana, Chet is delighted to meet Mami, Ralph, Frenchie, Lord and Duke’s mama (Frenchie’s real name being Baron, just to keep with the theme). She has a boat and a patch over one eye–Chet remembers watching pirate movies with Bernie and now here’s one in person!
Ralph was working on a new invention but no one, including Bernie, can figure out what it is. There are two of whatever they are (they look like ordinary pipe) and rumor has it one was a dud and one worked and would be worth a fortune if only they could figure out which was which and what to use it for, of course.
Another problem is that Lord is in trouble over a ton of shrimp that was hijacked. Now proof that he took the shrimp is scarce, but there’s enough evidence to put him under house arrest. Then there’s the feud between the Boutettes (Frenchie’s family) and the Robideaus. Nobody rightly remembers the cause of it but all feel the need to carry it on. Big oil plays a part too, although just what is unclear. Birds are found covered in oil although all reports show no leakage from the at-sea wells. A bigger problem is why members of a violent Latino gang seem to be after Chet and Bernie. What do stolen shrimp, oil, dead birds, gangs and feuds have to do with a missing man, his dog and houseboat?
If anybody can figure it all out, Chet’s sure it’s Bernie. After all, Bernie is always the smartest one in the room!Chet has a few close encounters with danger in this episode, but it’s all part of the job at the Little Detective Agency. Bernie has a close call or two of his own, including Susie’s arrival at an inopportune time, Susie being his girlfriend who moved because of her job. Both are finding a long distance relationship less than desirable.
There are a number of side characters in this book and being Louisiana, where characters are welcome, most of them are definitely odd! I hope there’s a way we’ll see some of them again. Quinn has captured the essence of Louisiana, the wonder of Chet and the flaws of Bernie and come up with a readable, enjoyable book. Be warned, once you start you won’t want to put it down, so allow time to read straight through. You won’t regret it. I found this to be the best Chet and Bernie yet and can’t wait for the next one.
Previous books include: Dog On It, Thereby Hangs a Tail, To Fetch a Thief, The Dog Who Knew Too Much, A Fistful of Collars.
To enter to win a copy of The Sound and the Furry, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Furry,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December, 21 2013. U.S. residents only.
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